Wednesday, March 27, 2013

My Favorite Books: Custer's Last Battle

I've mentioned before that my parents always managed to find some great books for me for Christmas. I've documented a few of them here in the past. Every once in a while they would give me a book that I had fallen in love with at the library.

One such book was Red Hawk's Account of Custer's Last Battle by Paul & Dorothy Goble. It was an account by a fictitious Sioux warrior of the Battle of the Little Bighorn. It was based on the actual accounts from real Sioux warriors.

I took that book out from thee library a bunch of times to read it and pore over the illustrations. My parents, always observant, decided it would be a good one to get for Christmas. I was really excited. Very few things excited me like a book at Christmas. Okay, maybe a revolutionary war set complete with stone walls trees and a tin tavern gave me a bigger thrill at the age of 8 or 9, but not much else!

The account was eye opening for me. The book was published in 1969. I probably received it in 1973 or 74 or so. It was really the first time I'd read something that was sympathetic to Native Americans and gave their side of the story. Until then the only accounts of the American west that I had encountered were  John Wayne and Henry Fonda movies. Needless to say it was a revelation.

I also loved the illustrations. They were done in a Native American style by Paul Goble. The Sioux and
Cheyenne warriors were very interesting, but I have to admit I was fascinated but the army uniforms. At that point in time I loved the blue uniforms of civil war and Indian war period soldiers. Each of the figures on both sides had a personality--no two were the same. They really helped bring the story to life.

Anyway, mom and dad really came through again. I guess I took for granted that there was always going to be a present or two that I would really love under the tree. One of them was almost always a book.

Today, with video games a dime a dozen--or $45 dollars each--give the child in your life the gift of a good book. If you're not sure what they like, take them to the library and see what they gravitate to. Remember, books open up worlds for children, and you hold the key.  

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